School Board Votes to End Mask Requirement June 1
Spring Branch ISD teachers and other employees would get a 2 percent pay raise under a preliminary proposed $360.7 million general fund budget considered by the Board of Trustees Monday night.
The board also voted unanimously to end the district’s mask requirement on June 1, after classes for the school year end on Thursday. Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order prohibiting governmental entities from requiring masks as a precaution against the spread of COVID-19. The order allows public schools to continue to follow current mask guidelines through June 4.
Masks will be optional in summer school.
In addition to the proposed 2 percent pay raise, the proposed budget would include continued investment in academic priorities and a focus on student and staff support for the next year. In addition, funds received through the federal government’s COVID-19 relief program to help students recover from any learning loss that occurred during the pandemic will be discussed at the hearing.
The proposal supports a reopening plan called “Strong Start” that will help ensure strong and accelerated learning for students when the next school year begins Aug. 16.
The total amount of the federal COVID relief funds available now is $57 million, and another $29 million is scheduled to be released to the district later for a total of $86 million to be spent over the next two to three years.
Spring Branch ISD must use the federal money to address the academic impact of lost instructional time due to the pandemic. Possible uses of this money include evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day learning, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs. The district’s plan also may include instructional materials, training, added classroom supports for literacy, math, and science, instructional coaching for teachers of long-term English Language Learner students and support for newcomer students.
The district is providing opportunities for community input through public hearings along with a survey that will be available to parents and community members. This input will help guide the development of the spending plan of these critically needed federal dollars.
Preliminary General Fund Budget
The board is expected to vote on approval of the budget on June 21 after a second public hearing.
Board members also honored and recognized Monday night groups of students for their achievements. Those being honored include:
- 2020-21 SBISD Speech and Debate students who excelled during forensic competitions this school year and have qualified for national or UIL State competitions. Sixteen students from Memorial, Spring Woods and Stratford high schools qualified for the National Speech and Debate Association's National Tournament on June 13-19 after placing at the District Qualifying Tournament. Six students from Memorial, Spring Woods and Stratford also qualified for the UIL State competition on May 25-26. Additionally, Spring Woods High School's debate team placed 2nd at UIL Region 2-6A. Debate coaches are Victoria Beard at Spring Woods; Harry Yu at Stratford and Cecil Trent (retired) at Memorial.
- Cadets from the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corp (NJROTC) who competed in a Top Gun Athletic Skill Meet on April 17. This competition tests physical endurance and coordination through eight events and a tug-of-war. SBISD teams placed in three of the eight events:
- 1st place - Spartan Run, Jem Flowers, Nathan Godinez, Devin Hoskins, Gabby Montoya, Leon Sanchez and Diana VillaMorales
- 2nd place - Combat Fitness, Claudia Benavides, Junior Gonzalez, Chieh “Jessie” Hsu, Nancy Luna, Michael Montoya, Oscar Morales and Daniela Ortiz
- 3rd place – Biathlon, Jem Flowers, Carlos Gonzalez, Junior Gonzalez, Devin Hoskins, Gabby Montoya and Oscar Morales
- Other cadets competing: Grace Forehand, Bryant Gamez, Alex Guzman, Allison Howard, Samantha Pineda and Rachel Rhinehart